They are called Lilou, Marie, Mélina, Tibalt and Maia and are in preview Jean-Moulin de Thouars Lyceum, in Deux-Sèvres. This October 20 they live an afternoon away from home, outside the school curriculum. They came to visit the laboratory of Jérôme Labanowski, researcher at CNRS, seconded to the university within the Institute of Chemistry of Environments and Materials of Poitiers (IC2MP). The five helpers are participating in a large-scale project, on the initiative of the four centers for scientific, technical and industrial culture (CCSTI) of New Aquitaine, united in an associative consortium (NACSTI): Cap Sciences (Bordeaux), Espace Mendès France (Poitiers) , Lacq Odyssée (Mourenx) and Récréasciences (Limoges).
The aim is to organize a High school girl COP27in collaboration with The worldin the four corners of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, to support and educate students on environmental issues through a local subject, close to their daily life, with the support of scientific and professional actors.
After several stages in the spring, the climax will take place on November 17 in Bordeaux. Hundreds of young people thirteen regional high schools participating in the project will come to present the conclusions of their research and reflections in front of elected officials and local journalists, then to present proposals to the assembled assembly. A way to integrate young people in environmental issues and to get out of political or scientific self-segregation.
The project was born in 2012 at the Espace Mendès France in Poitiers thanks to an idea of the sociologist Alfredo Pena-Vega, close to Edgar Morin. Founder and scientific director of the Global Youth Climate Pact (GYCP), Alfredo Pena-Vega has been taking young people to COPs since COP21 and has developed the GYCP in around 30 countries, particularly in South America.
” At the time, for seven consecutive years, we hosted Edgar Morin’s international networks on sustainable development issues. These questions were of an epistemological order, history of science, geopolitical perspective … We invited scientists and politicians and we immediately realized that these discussions were very interesting but were held in a cenacle of adults. , with people who were in decision – to take positions, and who had great difficulty in descending not only in society but above all among the younger generations »Says Didier Moreau, director of Espace Mendès France. However, of the 180,000 visitors that the study center welcomed in 2019, 45% were schoolchildren.
“The idea is above all not to format them, but to present the facts to them before they are taken from political, personal, family opinions” – Jérôme Labanowski, researcher
” We can see that bringing out a scientific awareness but also an awareness of environmental problems starts from very young. »Continues Didier Moreau. The project then saw the light in New Aquitaine, slowed down by the health crisis due to Covid-19: that of a first COP27 high school, throughout the territory. Funded by the region, its ambition is to do adolescents as true ambassadors in the fight against climate change. ” The goal is that this mobilization of high schools and high school students becomes in some way transversal to the action of our centers of scientific culture. young are regular visitors of this culture, but they have to make a qualitative leap by making them become actors concludes the sociologist.
“We understand better immediately”
This October 20, the five classmates of the Jean-Moulin de Thouars high school meet Jérôme Labanowski again, after a first exchange in May. The researcher, specialized in problems related to water and the functioning of man-made aquatic environments in terms of pollution, contamination and climate change, went to this high school to present his work and problems related to water on its territory.
The five ” budding scholars ”have in fact chosen this theme among those proposed (agroforestry, short circuits, etc.). “I have been interested in the subject for a few years but I have not done much to get involved”, Tibalt, 15, reports that this time he has come to visit Jérôme Labanowski’s university and laboratory. “The water shortage this summer hit us. We talk about it when it’s in the headlines and when it rains, people stop talking about it. While the problem is all year round, complains the high school student.
“The Thouet is their river, they are attached to it. It deteriorates, loses quality, the fish can disappear, it has hit them “, adds Jérôme Labanowski to explain the plant’s choice of this topic. A few weeks before the visit to the laboratory, the five volunteers went to the Thésée water treatment plant in Loir-et-Cher and told the researcher what they had learned. “We immediately understand better the path of water to our tap, and it also raises awareness of all the actions to be taken to ensure that the water is free from any pollution”, one of the participants in the project, as attentive as his companions, refers to the exchange with Jérôme Labanowski, with whom everyone has created a bond.
Warning against “fake news”
For his part, the researcher unrolls a fun PowerPoint to present data on water in the region, the problems raised by global warming, the presence of micropollutants … He also strives to warn them against the ideas received and, above all, the “Fake news”. “They must also have the common sense to look for information, go through it to form their own opinion. in the soul and in the conscience, explains Jérôme Labanowski. The idea is above all not to train them, but rather to try to broaden their minds, to present the facts to them before they are caught up in political, personal or family views. They still have the naivety of childhood that allows them to listen to everything and form a personal opinion. They have real spontaneous questions, they also want to learn, which is fun. “
During the visit they discover how the laboratory works and the researcher explains to them the content of the work he is doing on the water. There, he shows the stones from which he reports his field studies, here the instruments with which he takes his samples, before the analytical phase carried out behind closed doors in his laboratory. If they are aware of environmental issues, also worried about climate change, these young people from Thouars also hope, by participating in this program, “make people react” And “to be more and more numerous to have a conscience”.
Take part in COP27 high school student is no accident. The participants responded to the invitation launched by the scientific culture centers of the region and committed themselves voluntarily. Like their teachers. Therefore, Hélène Rambaud has been teaching history and geography at Jean-Moulin high school for twenty years and supervising the project. Just as high school students work overtime outside their COP27 high school course, Hélène Rambaud offers them her free time to take this initiative forward. ” I find that, in relation to the expectations of tomorrow, we need to sensitize young people to climate change, a young person who is not always aware. A project is also about meeting other people, putting students in new working conditions, these are things I believe in. “, explains.
Hélène Rambaud has none of these five high school students in her class for this school year, but she tries above all to involve motivated students who wanted to take this opportunity. Five students, out of one hundred of the school, she is keen to point out. “In general, I think we still have work to do to educate young people. For some of them it is always a rather defeatist observation, they tell themselves that they cannot do anything on their own scale, that they cannot change things., adds Hélène Rambaud. It remains to be seen what proposals they will make on November 17 in Bordeaux, during the few minutes of presentation. And if their young voice is heard.